No one wants to suffer an injury at work. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and people do get hurt, sometimes seriously. A catastrophic injury sustained on the job can have life-altering consequences. Our experienced Utah injury attorneys explain some steps to take to protect yourself against this type of workplace injury.
Common Types of Catastrophic Workplace Injuries
By definition, catastrophic injuries result in serious, permanent, and life-altering conditions. Some common examples include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back or spinal cord injury
- Loss of sight
- Amputation or loss of use of a major body part
- Multiple fractured bones
Consequences of Catastrophic Injuries
These types of injuries can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. It can take months or years to recover, and, in some cases, a full recovery is impossible. As a result, catastrophic injuries typically result in enormous medical and care bills. At the same time, they commonly lead to missed work, which makes it challenging to meet mounting financial obligations.
Steps To Protect Yourself From a Catastrophic Workplace Injury
You can not avoid all accidents; however, you can take steps to reduce your risk of a catastrophic accident at work.
Always Complete Required Medical Exams and Tests
If your employer requires medical exams or another test before starting a new job, take them. Some workplace medical tests that you might encounter include the following:
- Drug screening
- Vision and hearing screenings
- Driving or equipment operator tests
This also applies to requests that are made throughout your employment. For example, some jobs require an annual physical to ensure you are physically able to perform required tasks.
Keep Your Work Area Neat and Organized
More research is pointing to problems with clutter in the workplace. All health and productivity concerns aside, it impedes the normal flow of an area. It also increases the risk of an accident. For example, small items left on machinery can get caught, resulting in the need for removal. In addition, clutter on the floor can pose a tripping hazard and lead to falls.
The following are some tips to help you keep things organized:
- Make sure that all tools, equipment, and gear are properly stowed where they belong when not in use
- Do not run extension cords or plugs across traffic areas
- Keep spare parts and manuals in accessible storage locations
- Never leave trash or small items on any equipment
- Clean up any spills immediately
Use All Required Safety Equipment
Some workplaces require employees to use personal protective equipment. There is a wide range of PPE, depending on your industry. However, some of the most frequently used items include:
- Steel-toe boots
- Non-slip shoes
- Eye protection
- Hearing protection
- High-visibility vests
- Safety harness
- Follow Established Rules for Workplace Saftey and Wellness
Always follow company policies on using PPE; they are in place for your protection. There are no exceptions to this rule. However, you may also use additional PPE as you see fit to ensure your safety on the job.
Complete Work Tasks Completely and Correctly
Shortcuts may save you a few minutes here and there, but they can also contribute to a catastrophic injury at work. Take the time to perform all tasks completely and correctly every time you go to work. It’s also a good idea to review operating procedures periodically. Daily repetition can lead to complacency, and you may forget an important step or safety procedure.
Maintain Your Equipment
Whether your equipment is a computer or heavy machinery, keep it in top condition. Perform all maintenance and repairs as needed. Address any issues as they arise by following the company reporting procedure. Additionally, if something is unfit for operation, immediately take it out of service.
What To Do If You Are Injured at Work
Unfortunately, even if you follow the above safety recommendations, you may still get injured at work. If you suffer a workplace injury, it is essential to follow your employer’s reporting procedure.
Report the Accident or Injury
Most companies have an established accident reporting procedure. It will detail how to report an accident, how long you have to do so, who to report to and how. Naturally, you want to follow this whenever possible. However, with severe injuries, reporting will most likely be handled by someone else, such as a supervisor.
Seek Emergency Medical Care
Get treated immediately after the accident. Be sure to notify the emergency room intake staff that you were hurt at work. This step may be taken out of your hands if an ambulance has been called or you cannot speak for yourself.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
All Utah employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance to employees. While you may hope to avoid filing a claim, it is in our best interest to do so.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides you with the following:
- Payments for medical care for as long as you need it
- Partial wage replacement based on the severity of your injury
- Death benefit and the cost of burial expenses
Speak With an Injury Attorney
Even if workers’ compensation covers all of your medical bills, many hidden costs of a catastrophic injury can pile up. For example, you will be out of work during recovery and perhaps permanently, limiting your income potential. Additionally, workers’ comp does not consider the daily changes you will need to make to adjust to your injury.
Speaking with an attorney is an excellent way to determine how to handle your injury case. Our attorneys will perform a free case evaluation and provide our advice about your options. There is no cost or obligation for this service, yet it could be the difference between paying your bills or falling victim to mountains of injury-related debt.
Compassionate Legal Help After a Serious Workplace Injury
At Siegfried and Jensen, we’ve been fighting for the rights of accident victims for over 30 years. Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation if you have suffered a catastrophic injury at work. We’ll examine your options and help you get on the road to recovery.